nick sagan — edenborn

OH GOD. Two weeks without an update? EPIC FAIL. I apologize, my angels, especially since 20 on the 20th is getting cancelled for this month. While I’m disappointing you, I guess I should also let you know… there is no Santa. :( I blame finals – they both ate my brain and killed Christmas.

Anyways, remember Idlewild (Roc Science Fiction), the book I accidentally got from the library when looking for the OutKast movie? Still haven’t seen the movie. I actually am pretty okay with that, because Edenborn, the kickass sequel to the wonderfully nutty world of the Black Ep, has proven to be a delicious distraction.

When we left off, our vid-kids had just woken up from an extended stint in IVR. They’d just realized that…

  1. They were the only survivors of the Black Ep, a HIDEOUS PLAGUE that had WIPED OUT HUMANITY.
  2. One of their own, Mercutio, had gone a little nuts, and killed a few folks.
  3. Halloween, our amnesiac narrative, had had to kill Mercutio, and was a little OMG about that.

Our gents and ladies divvied up the world, continent by continent. Hal took North America, and at novel’s beginning, had been grown increasingly isolated from the “pets” living in the other hemisphere. It’s 18 years later – Isaac, who claimed Africa, has been raising a cluster of regular homo sapiens and bumping up their immune systems with medication. Vashti and Champagne have been playing with genetic engineering, raising a world of Waterbabies, young women they’ve been raising in the beginnings of a matriarchy. Pandora has been trying to act as a bridge between Isaac’s world of Sufi mysticism and faith and the Waterbabies’ world of science, regimentation, and logic. She’s starting to fail – neither side can be moved into a compromise, and with the death of Hessa, Isaac’s human daughter, who contracted the Black Ep while visiting Vashti and Champagne’s children, the divisions between them have been growing more extreme. How can they not be, when Vashti views Hessa’s death as an unfortunate side effect of working with failed genetic stock?

Edenborn‘s great strengths are its characters – Sagan is letting himself play with multiple voices here, including Penelope, the lonely Waterbaby, Pandora the hopeful mediator, and Haji, whose struggles with his faith are luminous. This larger cast nicely addresses the woman-as-symbol/idealized healer concern I brought up with Idlewild. Here, I think Sagan makes it clear that that’s Hal’s particular bit of douchebaggery, since Hal tries to slide Pandora into that same slot. I’m still a bit put-off by the constant dogging of Vashti – there seems to be an implied link between her queerness, her misandry, and her (lack of) parental skills. Seriously, at least when Isaac is all, OMG Haji, I’m sorry I bred you to be the savior of the human race and was hoping I could erase your brains when you turn 18, he’s also all, I REALIZED THAT IS WRONG I LOVE YOU SON. Vashti’s not only the ONLY gay in the village, but she’s also the only uncomplicated b!tch in town. Sad face. :( She IS one of my faves tho — I mean, who wouldn’t be just a leeeeetle cranky when faced with so much incompetance? You gotta love a woman who when faced with the incipient death of five of her relatives is all, HAND ME MY GOSHDANG LAB COAT. I’m gonna solve this ish with SCIENCE.

I’m excited for the trilogy closer. Hopefully Fantasia will show up and be murderously crazy. I’m thinking that in the last 20 years, chick will have gone totally, entertainingly bonkers. Or, y’know, have wowed the world through her heartfelt performances on American Idol. I’m just gonna request both and see what happens. :D

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